Been a quiet year, hasn't it? We, like many indies are believers in open development, where you talk early and often about your game and include your audience in the process of developing the game. It's a great way to market and expose your game, which is the biggest problem indies have and will always have. We don't compete with each other; we compete with obscurity.
Well it's not always a viable option. Sometimes you need to dive and run silent. We needed to develop a new art style for Due Process. Block dudes are great, but they're very limiting, and we can make a far richer game by choosing a style other than abstract programmer art.
A year ago, we hired a team of artists who have been working very hard to deliver a style suitable for the game. Game art, much like the game attached to it, is complete shit for 90% of development and really only comes together in the last stretch, so it was important to shield the art team from early and undue criticism. We had to lay low for a bit and not show too much to keep morale up, because the internet is unkind.
So now we've surfaced. We're back, and we're very proud to present this:
NEW PROCESS ™
We're fans, obviously. We hope you like it too.
Early on, we decided we'd need to go stylized alternate reality over realistic present-day for a number of reasons, namely:
So rather than a game with SCAR-Hs, we're doing a game with PPSHs. In the alternate world of Due Process, gun control is tight. Consequently, our criminals don't have access to modern weaponry, and are forced to fight with weapons which are chimeras of the most interesting gun designs of the last century. Expect to see the elegant designs of world war 2, the truely... unique products of Chechya's most skilled gunsmiths, and the wonderful oddballs of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.Enough with the AR-15s, let's play with some AR-10s.
Realistic art styles are expensive to produce. Any team can attempt a realistic art style, but few can nail it, and doing so is traditionally a process which involves a cool million or two. Money that we don't have, so rather than produce a lumpy realistic art style that just isn't great, we decided to go all in on something of our own.
Realism just isn't the tone of our game. There's nothing realistic about the premise of Due Process. SWAT teams don't make sure they have the exact same number of guys as the enemy before they go in. Similarly, they don't make a plan in under 2 minutes.
Moreover, SWAT doesn't forget the clacker. In Due Process, there are a ton of opportunities for you to fuck up, there's a lot of laughter and lightheartedness, and the tone of the game should reflect that.
Finally, players are hard to restrain. Rather than address the issue of "how do you get players to obey the strict ROEs special operations teams have," we just invented our own police force which has carte blanche to murder willy-nilly, just like we know you will.
The modern military shooter has been had. Even Call of Duty, king of the modern military shooters, is moving into sci-fi because they know people aren't so interested in Iraq and Afghanistan anymore. That Medal of Honor series refresh tanked because you just can't get by on those settings alone anymore (it turns out you still have to make a good game). This doesn't mean that games like Squad or Insurgency are in trouble, mind you, (both are doing very, very fine) but choosing that setting does put you at an automatic disadvantage as you're immediately put in the same category of big AAA games. You're stacked up against art that took millions to produce; it's a big check to cash.
Most importantly, the modern military shooter theme is limiting. I mean fuck, gun design is so homogenized in 2015 that the most interesting options available to you are "do you want a vertical foregrip or an angled foregrip." Firearms design has massively converged over the last 20 years--virtually all primary weapons are assault rifles firing intermediate calibre cartridges at 600-1000RPM. The real innovations in weapon design have gone into platforms and systems which are justno fun to fight against. I assure you, there is no glory or fairness in going toe to toe with an XM25 grenade launcher.
- PAX 2015 -
We debuted that new art style at the Indie Megabooth at PAX this year, and things went really well, you know, aside from some people thinking the game was named "target look". You can never win, can you?
Anyway. The plan was to debut the new version of the game at PAX, but we still need another month to optimize some performance issues to make sure we're getting a steady framerate.
Instead of debuting the new version as planned, we dusted off the old box dude prototype, did a quick visual pass to make things a bit more consistent, and shipped it. It was still buggy as hell (apologies, but there is a reason why decided to dump it and do a complete rewrite), but people had a great time, and we had a very unique problem:
Somewhere from 10-20% of our total playtime was taken up by less than 10 people.
Perhaps you can spot the culprits in these pictures.
This is a good problem to have, as it means your game is, well, you know, fun. We're making a game for the hardcore here, so it's a good sign that there are people who basically gave up their opportunity to play all the other games at PAX in favor of ours. The game is built on the premise that we'll have a playerbase fervently dedicated to this game who will serve as the core of the greater community that grows on it. Just as the competitive scene is the core of Counter-Strike, the competitive scene is the core of Due Process.
- RETURNING TO OPEN DEVELOPMENT -
I'm terribly sorry that this year has been so quiet on the blog, but that's changing right now. The cat's out of the bag, the new art style is public, and now we can start talking about the game and how it's progressing, so expect to hear from me and other members of the team more often!